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Manure spreading ban is in effect

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets would like to remind all state farm operations that the 24th annual winter manure spreading ban is underway. As required by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets’ (VAAFM) Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), between Dec. 15 and April 1, no manure or other agricultural wastes (including: compost and spoiled feed) may be spread on agricultural fields throughout Vermont.
This annual ban is required by the RAPs, which are part of VAAFM’s overall strategy to protect water quality, the working landscape, and natural resources. The ban has been in place since 1995. A revision to the RAPs — newly effective in 2016 — continues the winter manure spreading ban while expanding the types of farm generated wastes that are prohibited from application in winter. The RAPs also prohibit the application of manure or agricultural wastes on frozen or snow-covered fields. VAAFM works closely with farmers across the state to ensure the RAPs are understood and complied with.
Due to this fall’s early cold and heavy snowfalls, the Agency would like to remind farmers that exemptions for winter manure spreading are available for emergency situations only. If a farmer anticipates having an issue meeting the winter manure spreading ban restrictions, they should contact VAAFM for assistance with planning winter manure management.
When field stacking manure, the RAPs require that stacking sites be located at least 200 feet from private wells and 100 feet from property boundaries. In addition, manure cannot be stacked within 200 feet of surface water, 100 feet of a ditch, on land that is subject to annual overflow from adjacent waters, or on exposed bedrock.
Farmers must either have a storage structure that is capable of holding all manure produced between Dec. 15 and April 1, which is 106 days, or they must be able to stack all manure produced in a way that will not lead to adverse water quality impacts.
Manure spreading is a common practice in Vermont agriculture that enriches the soil for production and helps manage animal waste. For a PDF booklet explaining RAP’s and the winter manure spreading ban, visit https://tinyurl.com/manureban.
Questions about the manure spreading ban, requests for assistance in the selection of appropriate manure stacking sites or to request an emergency exemption, can be directed to Laura DiPietro, Director of Water Quality at 802-595-1990 or Ryan Patch, Deputy Director of Water Quality, at 802-272-0323.

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